Japanese Designers 101
January 18, 2013 8:58 PM   Subscribe

I’ve found that while Japan has always been a significant force in the world of design, not many people are familiar with the names or faces behind the distinct aesthetic. In this edition I would like to briefly introduce some of the notable* industrial designers of the 20th Century that have made meaningful contributions to what we know today as Contemporary Japanese Design. by the ever wonderful Spoon & Tamago

* Riki Watanabe passed away last week at the age of 101.
posted by infini (8 comments total) 35 users marked this as a favorite
Very good - look forward to perusing!
posted by Miko at 9:23 PM on January 18, 2013

ooh. this promises to be nifty.
posted by mephron at 9:55 PM on January 18, 2013

Nice. Interested folks might also enjoy this series of neojapanisme blog entries about the past decade or so of Japanese graphic design - part one, two, three, four, five, six, seven .
posted by p3t3 at 10:56 PM on January 18, 2013 [4 favorites]

I highly recommend directly sucking up their RSS feed.
posted by infini at 1:06 AM on January 19, 2013

posted by 3.2.3 at 1:22 AM on January 19, 2013

A lot of them seemed to gravitate to Italy; I wonder why that is.
posted by acb at 5:27 AM on January 19, 2013

Given the trajectory of post War (WW2) reconstruction and need for modern industrial design sensibilities, I can see why the Japanese designers emerging in the 60s might have looked to Italy for inspiration and learning. There was also the similarity in the concept of 'masters and their studios' which may have resonated with their own culture whereas the same period saw the rise of planned obsolescence and style obsolescence during the peaking of industrial productivity and subsequent crafting of consumerism in the United States. While the US offered industrialization, the Italian design sensibility may have felt closer to the Japanese.

During the second world war a big part of the Italian construction legacy had been destroyed, so it was important to find new ideas to reconstruct the country: this was an interesting challenge for designers and architects who were called to renew Italian dwelling places in a technical and functional way. Some companies carried out interesting sperimental works; these were Feal company creating steel fittings, Olivari company creating door handles and Bticino company creating electric power control devices. In 1950's also the new modern furniture companies obtained extraordinary findings, particularly stackable kitchens industry and home appliances industries. This last mentioned Italian industry became in a few time the second world-wide exporter after United States, with objects created by Alberto Rosselli, Marco Zanuso, Achille Castiglioni, Piergiacomo Castiglioni and Gino Valle (he cooperated for a long time with Rex-Zanussi company).

In 1950's industrial objects became a symbol of this new renaissance period; Italy suddenly found out that modernity means welfare, comfort and a best type quality of life. So next to home appliances we could find furniture, lamps, a vaste range of objects for home and free time, radio sets and television sets that gave life to a typical 50's gay image.

In the same years the new furniture's shapes for serial industrial production had an important role. Young rationalist architects could finally put in practice their training knowledge. Some important names of the period to mention are Franco Albini, Ignazio Gardella, Luigi Caccia Dominioni, Vico Magistretti, Ettore Sottsass, Marco Zanuso, Achille and Piergiacomo Castiglioni and the BBPR group (Banfi, Belgiojoso, Peressutti, Rogers).

posted by infini at 8:28 AM on January 19, 2013 [1 favorite]

Naoto Fukasawa should be on the list.
posted by marvin at 9:09 AM on January 19, 2013 [1 favorite]

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